Heard Something, Read Something #2

This edition contains links I found from David Perell Newsletters. He is a great author and teaches people to write in his writing school named Writing Passage.

Heard Something

One of the best books about Productivity is Atomic Habit, written by James Clear. He wrote that we can reach optimal productivity by building upon small yet consistent habits. This approach lets you start small in building your productivity regime, using compound effects from your habit stacking. James Clear has a writing method that reflects his approach. You can see that in the video below.

Read Something

The first article was also found in David Perell’s newsletter. In this essay by Michael Nielsen, we will learn about how to perform good research. Doing research is a foundation for producing good writing. One interesting quote in this article relates to how we need to do basic/fundamental things in high standard consistently. It is told by one of McDonald’s employees.

I heard a story years ago in which a representative from McDonald’s was asked what gave McDonald’s the edge in the fast food industry. They replied that McDonald’s took care of the little things, like making sure that their restaurants and surrounds were always extremely clean. Representatives of other fast food companies replied incredulously that surely that was not the reason McDonald’s did so well, for “anyone could do that”. “But only McDonald’s does” was the response. The heart of personal effectiveness is not necessarily any special knowledge or secret: it is doing the basics consistently well.

The next article is long, explaining methods we can exercise to remember everything we’ve read. The writer is kind enough to provide us with the TLDR version on top of the article.

But if you only remember six things after reading this article, it should be the following truths about reading:

  1. Quality matters more than quantity. If you read one book a month but fully appreciate and absorb it, you’ll be better off than someone who skims half the library without paying attention.
  2. Speed-reading is bullshit. Getting the rough gist and absorbing the lessons are two different things. Confuse them at your peril.
  3. Book summary services miss the point. A lot of companies charge ridiculous prices for access to vague summaries bearing only the faintest resemblance to anything in the book. Summaries can be a useful jumping-off point to explore your curiosity, but you cannot learn from them the way you can from the original text.*
  4. Fancy apps and tools are not needed. A notebook, index cards, and a pen will do just fine.
  5. We shouldn’t read stuff we find boring. Life is far too short.
  6. Finishing the book is optional. You should start a lot of books and only finish a few of them.

This is sure a lot to learn in one sitting. So here’s the article for further reference.

That’s all for the second edition.

Pandemic and Content Consumption

As you all know, 2020 is full of surprises. I had read in December 2019; there were several cases of an unknown deadly virus in Wu Han, China. I remember treating it lightly, probably just some fake news or wrong translation from a Chinese news site. We started seeing similar symptoms in other provinces in China, and that’s when I knew that this was not a joke. This virus is serious problems, and in just a blink of an eye, our lives change upside down.

Fast forward to November 2020, and I am writing this from my home office desk. I’ve been working from home since March 2020. There was a surge in infection cases in Jakarta, and our province decided to go lockdown. We have two lockdowns and three controlled transitions. It is hard for us, but we need to stay at home because vaccines are not yet approved.

So for the last eight months, we are trying to find a way to kick our boredom. We try to enjoy ourselves at home, but it is getting harder every week. I tried to keep my family at home because we are in a high-risk category. We are trying to minimize the occasion to go outside. Even I haven’t seen my parents face to face during this WFH time.

We tried several methods to stay active and happy at home. We used to do some stretching and jogging in the morning, but we stopped because we got Dengue Fever. To stay healthy, I purchased the Nintendo Ring Fit game so that we can play while exercising. I must say it is quite enjoyable. However, I am distracted by the new expansion of Pokemon Sword/Shield.

We have this tradition to have weekly dinner and watch movies at Cinema, but our favorite place was flooded at New Year’s, and they have been closed ever since. I felt sad for them because it was close to our house. To replace that tradition, we routinely order food using Go-Food. It is quite lovely; actually, we can experiment, trying new food.

I followed several food bloggers on Instagram, and we ordered several dishes they recommend. This online food service saves us in this quarantine time. To keep it safe, we heated every food in the microwave before eating them.

For enjoying new movies, it is more expensive than enjoying new kinds of food. Movies have complicated distribution related to copyright, so if you want to enjoy movies legally, you will need to have several subscriptions. We already have Netflix and Amazon Prime Video long before the pandemic. But since this pandemic, a lot of companies are trying to get some portion for this business. Since cinemas are closing, they need to find new ways to distribute the movies, and streaming is the most plausible idea. So by that premise, Disney is also joining the bandwagon. So we now add Disney+ to the list of subscriptions because the newest movies are in Disney’s possessions.

Another content we enjoy is music. We have an Apple Music subscription and Spotify subscription, but I found it is easier to find new music on YouTube. My wife also loves to watch M/V on YouTube, so we are both avid users. After having some discussion, I decided to purchase a YouTube premium.

So to the summary, in this pandemic, we have:

  1. Apple Music
  2. Spotify Family
  3. YouTube Premium
  4. Amazon Prime Video
  5. Netflix
  6. Disney+ Hotstar

Amazon Prime Video probably is not a very popular choice. I got this subscription as part of my Amazon Prime membership. But they have interesting original series, i.e., Grand Tour, The Man in the High Castle and The Boys.

Disney+ is not available in our country, but they have collaboration with Hotstar. We are getting the same movies and series.

We sure have many subscriptions, but we are doing anything to keep happy at this time.

Some Life Updates

So this blog has not been updated for a couple of months. It is really not according to my plan, which is regularly updating this blog. But it is tough to be disciplined.

So a work-related update, I now have a new job. After spending 5 years in a startup, I am moving again to the corporate world. I joined Red Hat Indonesia as a Specialist Solution Architect. I was assigned to focus on Application Development-related products in Red Hat.

Red Hat is a very unique company. It is very well known for its Red Hat Enterprise Linux, a variant of GNU/Linux tailored for the enterprise environment. Red Hat is very devoted to Open Source; they apply the open-source model to everything. All products are based on upstream versions of open source, where Red Hat performs improvements and tests to produce enterprise-grade software solutions.

I am on my third month here, and I am thrilled with Red Hat. Red Hat adopts open culture, where every crucial business decisions are discussed openly, so everybody can contribute. It is a fascinating culture for an organization with a large number of associates.

I am still learning so much about its products. I need to work harder because I don’t have any sales-related background. But right now, I have a great manager and teammates helping me. I really hope to learn many things here and pave my way to contribute to open-source software.

Posting from Ulysses

I am trying to make writing a habit, yet I am not updating this blog for a month. Now, I am looking for ways to post without having to open WordPress.com editor. I used to blog using desktop app before, I used desktop client in Linux (I forgot the name). I found it is easier and faster to write than loading web interface and write on the editor.

I am experimenting using Ulysses as my editor for blogging now. Ulysses is great for writing long-form. I purchased Ulysses through SetApp subscription. SetApp is a nice subscription system for macOS apps from MacPaw. You might know them from CleanMyMac app, also included in the subscription for obvious reason.

Ulysses has integration features with popular blogging platforms, including WordPress. All you need to log in using your WordPress account and you can start writing. If you are using your WordPress using 2FA (Two-Factor Authentication), you will need to generate application specific password so Ulysses can interact with WordPress API.

WordPress itself also provides a desktop application, but I prefer to use tools I am familiar with first before trying new methods. We’ll see how this experiment goes in the next few weeks. I have so many ideas I want to write, but always hit the great wall of laziness.


Welcome to my site. I am Rakhmad Azhari, a Software Engineer from Jakarta, Indonesia. In this time of COVID-19 pandemic, I have more free time than usual, so I am looking for new activities. I am experimenting with Daily Personal Journal for last few years, and I feel that writing helps me calm. Mostly my journal is related to my mood or feelings through the day, so I decided that I need new places to share my interests related to technology.

My interests are related mostly with Computer Science. I will write stuff related to Software Engineering, Management, Programming Language, and probably some gossips around startups in Jakarta. I am a Apple fan boy, so I will definitely write something related to them as well.